Returning with Episode 2 “Genius” Itachi Shinden is a bit more subdued than the previous weeks episode while simultaneously being surprisingly funny at times. A rare occurrence considering Itachi has never been that much predisposed to humor as a character, emotional melodrama yes but humor no. If you missed last weeks write up check it out below. Anyways although we have less to discuss then last week lets return to The Book of Bright Light!
Picking up where Episode 1 left off an ominous presence watches the Leaf. Using the summoning Jutsu the Kyubi is called and set upon the leaf by a mysterious foe (who we all know to be Obito as Madara) for reasons as of yet unknown. Here I have to point out the more water colour depiction of the Kyubi was a very good touch. It’s a level of art that isn’t seen very often in the Naruto anime and look quite striking.
Itachi carrying his baby brother Sasuke makes his way through the chaos, however while going to a shelter Itachi finds and saves a fellow Uchiha Izumi - a young girl his own age. Telling her to get out of the area Itachi continues on by himself. Eventually finding his father who is commanding the Leaf’s police force and overseeing the evacuation of the town. Many of his fellow Uchiha want to help fight the Kyubi however Fugaku holds them back. Telling them their duty is to help the people and keep them from harm.
Eventually the Kyubi is subdued but at the cost of the Fourth Hokages and his wifes life. Causing Sarutobi to again return to the role of the Hokage where he has to deal with the aftermath of the Kyubi’s attack. The first order of business is relocating the various Clans as the village is rebuilt.
During the relocation meeting the various Clan heads, Danzo who has never trusted the Uchiha, and the Third Hokage it is revealed the Uchiha are to be moved right to the edge of the village. This outrages Fugaku stating as the police of the village they’d be too far away from the center if their are any issues. Danzo insultingly replies that is why they have the ANBU Black Ops - a force incidentally he partially controls.
Forced to accept this change as all other Clan Heads accepted their moves Fugaku takes the news back to the Clan. Much like Fugaku was the other Uchiha are outraged as well saying this is because Danzo and the village dont trust the Uchiha. The reason they weren’t allowed to fight the Kyubi was due to the fact the Village elders were fearful the Uchiha would use the Sharingan to control the Kyubi. In the end though the clan accepts the move. However its clear this is likely one of the slights that would see Fugaku and the Uchiha attempt a rebellion sometime in the future.
During the rebuilding Itachi continues to care for his younger brother. Seeing him Izumi the girl from before rushes over and blushing says thank you for saving her. Itachi however seems distracted likely by the responsibility of carrying Sasuke. Izumi requests to hold Sasuke which he initially declines saying he doesn’t want Sasuke to cry. Izumi insists it’ll be okay and has Itachi hand over his brother, who of course immediately cries. Not until he is returned to Itachi does Sasuke stop crying, showing even in his youth Sasuke was always massively attached to Itachi.
Furthermore for long time Naruto fans this finally potentially deals with an issue of contention within the fandom. The idea did Itachi have a girlfriend, something even Kishimoto never really seemed to know. However based on her actions and Itachi’s it looking like Izumi may be the mysterious girl for Itachi although one he’ll almost certainly need to kill...
Returning to Itachi he’s entering the Ninja Academy where he’ll start his training. Seeing his young female friend from before at the ceremony he seems happy a very rare emotion out of Itachi, once again showing this isn’t the Itachi we all know and love. However it quickly becomes clear Itachi is no ordinary student.
Indeed he is beyond even extraordinary. Able to single handedly take out Upperclassmen and master every Jutsu Itachi is a clear genius. So much so his studies bore him, instead he wishes to learn Jutsu from his father. During one of their first sessions Itachi is able to use the historic Uchiha technique - Katon Goukakyuu no Jutsu after being shown it only once impressing his father.
Eventually after protecting a bunch of classmates who previous resented him for his skills and massive popularity with their female classmates they become his friend. Parading him around like some kind of hero much to Itachi’s shagrin and much to the viewers delight. Mostly as this is a side of Itachi we have never really seen previously.
However Itachi seems to be distant from his friends. It’s shown during class time Itachi uses Shadow Clones (an advanced and forbidden Jutsu) to skip class and hang out with his friend a fellow genius Shisui Uchiha. Who viewers know will one day go on to unlock the Mangekyou Sharingan along with Itachi.
However due to a brawl the Instructors learn of Itachi’s abilities with the Shadow Clones. Coupled with his top marks in all his classes and impressive fighting ability Itachi graduates from the Academy after only a year. Showing that in terms of raw talent Itachi is far superior to even Sasuke. However this does require Itachi to leave behind his friends ending the episode.
As I wrote above this episode saw a different kind of Itachi a more human one if you will. While its clear this is the same Itachi that is aloof and kind of a loner its also one that has shown an ability to make connections in a way we haven’t really seen. Also as mentioned its possible we may have finally met Itachi’s love or at the very least somebody who clearly adores Itachi along with the first chronological introduction of Itachi’s best friend Shisui. Overall it was a fine episode that gave some answers regarding the Uchiha’s fall to Darkness and Itachi’s time in the light. Until next week.
You can check out Itachi Shinden every Thursday on Crunchyroll.